The former business manager of three parishes within the Archdiocese of Cincinnati has been accused of embezzling more than $350,000. The media reports that a lawsuit filed in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court alleges that Thomas Martin “failed to deposit money into parish accounts, forged checks, paid phony bills to entities he controlled, skimmed from parish collections, abused credit cards and paid himself an excessive salary.” Martin worked for Holy Family, St. John the Evangelist and St. John the Baptist parishes.
A spokesman for the Church said that the Archdiocese has been “working closely” with county prosecutors, but that Martin has not been criminally charged. It bears repeating that persons being investigated for a white collar crime such as embezzlement should contact an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible. In our experience, the earlier a criminal defense lawyer is involved in the process, the higher the likelihood the attorney can reach a positive resolution to the allegations by working directly with investigators, employers or law enforcement before charges are actually filed.
The spokesman for the Archdiocese also said that the Church has been “tightening up our finances for some time,” and that a full-time auditor has been hired. This is a good first step, although the Church should also consider bringing in outside investigators. If a company faces a possible issue that requires an investigation, internal or government investigation, skilled investigators with law enforcement experience, such as the Lycurgus Group, can help an institution or company take the proactive steps needed to not only demonstrate the company’s desire to get to the bottom of a situation, but also to protect corporate interests. A prompt and thorough investigation will show a commitment to correcting possible mistakes or wrongdoing by employees, and give decision-makers documentation from a reliable, unbiased, third-party to help make appropriate decisions.